Tender muscles may be cooked quickly - steaks and roasts - and should be exposed to intense heat at first.
Tougher portions may be made more palatable by pounding to separate the connective tissue, but this is often accompanied by loss of juice, or they may be put through the meat chopper or cooked slowly for a long time in a gravy, or both.
By browning tough meat first we give it a good flavor and sear the surface so that more of the juice will be retained than if raw meat were used. Some scraps of fat may be browned, an onion sliced and fried in the fat, an equal measure of flour added, and when it is mixed smoothly with the fat, water is put in, in the same proportions as for white sauce. The meat is put in the gravy and left covered on the back of the stove to cook slowly, later vegetables are added.
Braised meat and pot roasts are similar in effect, but large pieces of meat are used and more time is required. All the trimmings, except the fat, are put with the bones, covered with cold water and the kettle is set on the stove to heat slowly.
Salt meats should be cooked slowly in plenty of water until tender. When the meat is very salt, it should be put on in cold instead of boiling water.
Wild animals usually are less fat than those that have been raised for food. Excessive fat may mean disease. Young animals have but little fat compared with older ones. Half the weight of a pig may be fat and a fourth of a fat sheep or ox. Some portions of a creature will contain much more fat than others. Layers of fat occur around the inner organs of animals. Some fish have fat or oil in the liver and little or none elsewhere. Fat mingled with the lean tissues is partly visible, partly detected only by chemical methods.
To a certain extent fat takes the place of water in the tissues, In fat meat the purchaser gets the same amount of protein but buys fat instead of water.
The surplus fat purchased with meats should be turned to good account by clarifying it for shortening or frying. It should be freed from the protein matter as far as possible by trimming and soaking in cold salted water. The water should be changed often, and the fat, after being cut in small pieces, may soak from twelve to twenty-four hours. Then it is drained and heated slowly to separate the clear fat from the heavy, honeycomb-like tissues which contain it. At the end of several hours the fat will have melted and may be strained from the crisp brown tissues. If raised to too high a temperature the fat is less wholesome and well flavored.
Frying in deep fat is a satisfactory method of se curing a crisp, brown crust. When the process is properly conducted very little fat is absorbed by the food.
The temperature of fat suitable for cooking is much higher than that of boiling water and ranges from 3000 to 4000 F, according to the nature of the article to be cooked. For doughs which should rise, and fish which must be cooked through, a lower temperature and longer time are required than for fishballs or croquettes, already cooked and only to be browned.
If many pieces of cold food are put into the kettle of fat at one time, the temperature will be lowered so much that they may absorb fat and even fall to pieces.
A bit of bread dropped into the kettle will brown in one minute if the fat is right for frying doughs, and in less time if it is ready for croquettes.
Fat by itself does not boil, but when moist food is put into it large bubbles of steam begin to form. At first the foods being cold and heavy sink to the bottom of the kettle; as they warm and the water escapes, they rise toward the top.
As soon as the food is brown it should be removed from the fat and drained on soft paper before serving.
Sausage And Fried Apples
The bones of animals yield considerable nutritive material if we use proper methods to extract it. Marrow is found in the leg bones, but they have not so much protein matter as the spongy rib bones. When meat is boned before cooking, bits of meat cling to the bone. By soaking in cold water, then cooking gently, a large part of the flavor and nutritive part of the bone is dissolved in the water. Cartilage, gristle and tendons are also somewhat soluble when exposed to moisture and heat. The smaller the pieces into which bone and meat are divided the greater the surface exposed to the dissolving action of the water. The flavors of meat which are drawn into the water are known as extractives and are stimulating rather than nourishing.
This process of extraction from portions unsuitable to eat is known as making soup stock. Bouillon and beef tea are made from tough lean meat with little or no bone. Consomme is made from meat and poultry together. Anything that would give a strong flavor must be removed. The skin of lamb or beef should be thrown away.
The flavoring of the soup or the garnish served in it gives its distinctive name. All meat, poultry, and fish soups have as their basis a stock made from the portions undesirable to use in any other way.
Yet stock contains but a small proportion of the nutriment of the meat, and fibre of the meat from which stock has been made may be used for hashes, with herbs, etc., to give flavor.
Names of Soups
Meat Loaf In Rice
Fillet Cut From Side Of Fish